NSA by NSA 2

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the National Security Agency's broad phone surveillance program.

The ACLU lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York argues that the program, the existence of which was leaked last week by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, is against the law and calls on a judge to halt the program and require that the agency destroy related records, according to a statement posted on the ACLU website.

"In the wake of the past week's revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association and privacy," the statement by Brett Max Kaufman, a legal fellow at the ACLU National Security Project, says.

The call-logging program, first disclosed by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, “gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations,” according to a copy of the ACLU's complaint obtained by the New York Times.

A top-secret document leaked by Snowden showed that the formerly secret NSA phone surveillance program gathers and collects metadata -- information about where and when calls were made and received, which phone numbers were dialed and answered, and more -- from a wide swath of phone calls.

The ACLU said the lawsuit comes a day after the group "submitted a motion to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) seeking the release of secret court opinions on the Patriot Act's Section 215, which has been interpreted to authorize this warrantless and suspicionless collection of phone records."